Suri walked alongside the wall, brushing the tops of the bricks with her fingertips.
She loved every part of the wall, even the big, iron gate that never opened, with the man who always stood next to it, silent and still.
The wall was Suri’s only friend and the touch of the bricks gave her warmth.
Suri watched the other children playing in the courtyard. She was different to them.
She was no older, but taller, much taller. Suri knew that this made the children afraid of her.
At meal times Suri ate by herself at a separate higher table,
and at night she slept alone on a long single mattress. She could hear the girls giggling as they cuddled up together and her heart ached to join them.
Suri turned from the courtyard and continued her walk. She wanted to mark her height on the wall behind the pond.
Tears welled up in Suri’s eyes as she realised that she was finally taller than the wall. Would she ever stop growing?
For a while Suri let herself cry. Then, as she wiped away the tears Suri caught a glimpse of something she’d never seen before.
It wasn’t the wall, it was over the wall. She stretched up onto her toes, staying there for some time looking out.
Then… she felt it. A tugging sensation. Starting in her fingers it ran along her arm, spreading into her chest and tickling the back of her neck.
Suri looked down to see Eva holding her hand. Eva squeezed it again.
Suri’s heart beat more quickly and she squeezed Eva’s hand back gently.
“Can you see Suri? Are you tall enough?”
“Yes Eva, I can.”
“What’s there? What can you see?”
“What can I see?” Suri looked out over the wall. “Oh it’s beautiful, let me tell you all about it.”
18 & 19
Suri spoke of green meadows and aqua rivers…
Peach blossoms and golden bridges…
Eva now sat at Suri’s feet along with Peter, Mikael and Maria. “And what’s over that wall?” Mikael pointed.
“There’s a huge harbour filled with boats. The biggest ship has red sails with a silver crown.”
“It must be the king’s ship!” cried Peter. “That’s a good sign for sure.”
The bell rang out for dinner and Maria and Eva grabbed Suri’s hands as they skipped towards the huts.
As they smiled and laughed together through dinner, Suri realised that the children were no longer afraid of her.
24 & 25
Day after day more and more children came and sat for hours as Suri described the surrounding town and its people.
When, one night Eva crept over to Suri and whispered, “Can I snuggle in with you?” Suri’s heart sang.
Suri woke early the next morning and crept out to walk around the wall.
As she approached the gate the man spoke. “They will find out, you know.”
Suri stopped. “Yes, perhaps” she said slowly. “But not today.”
Later that day the children found Suri. “What’s all the noise?” Luca asked. “Over the wall? Has the circus come to town?”
“Yes, what is it?” Eva asked, “What can you see?”
30 & 31
Suri looked, silent, taking in all that she saw. [here the illustrator shows the true desolation that surrounds them]
“What can I see? “, she looked down at the upturned faces of the children.
“Oh it’s beautiful, let me tell you all about it.”